Bruce & Betsy Blais
Richardson, Texas USA

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Trips & Vacations - LAS VEGAS 2010/11 & 2017

Here is a brief summary of a number of our trips to Las Vegas and the Southwest in 2010 and 2011. Bruce was working on a radio communications project there and did a lot of mountain biking in the area, so be sure to check out the riding in Arizona, Nevada and Utah on his Mountain Biking page. Since he had a 2-bedroom condo there, he also had a number of visitors. If you would like a full-resolution of any of these photographs, please let me know and I will send them on.

Bruce gave Betsy George Strait concert tickets for Vega in 2017, so they made a pleasure trip out there in December. Use the George Strait link on the left to go to this section of the page.

Hotels & Casinos

Over the course of a year, Betsy, Bruce, family and friends hit most of the casinos and hotels in Vegas. There were multiple trips, and the photos were taken over multiple visits. The following photos provide a small glimpse of their outings. There were some special guests, such as the grandkids and my son Michael, and their trips get their own section.


On one of their trips, Betsy and Bruce took in the Chinese New Year's exhibit in the Conservatory at the Bellagio. Here is Betsy with a mirrored horse statue in 2011.

Here is an overall shot of the Conservatory from the lobby.

It was the Year of the Rabbit. The shot below is Betsy with a rabbit made of ferns and moss.

Here is Betsy with a Chinese Junk that was part of the display.

Below is a shot of Bruce at a Pagoda.

Below is Betsy with some Terracotta warriors.

The Bellagio changes the display about six times a year, and this was just one.

Caesar's Palace

They made several trips to Caesar's on Betsy's trips out to Vegas. Here is Betsy in the lobby.

Here is one of Betsy with a statue of the Pegasus.

There is tons more to see, but only so much room on this website.

City Center

In February of 2011, Betsy's best friend, Nancy, came out for a visit. Here is Betsy and Nancy at City Center. Notice the rabbit in the background. It was Chinese New Year's after all.

Betsy on one of the staircases at City Center.

City Center is huge, with five building. This is only a couple of shots there.


On several of the trips, Bruce and Betsy visited the Cosmopolitan. Here is Betsy on the third floor by the three-story chandelier made of Swarovski crystal.

The Cosmopolitan is an ultra-modern hotel, and really quite impressive.


The Wynn and Encore are very elegant twin hotels. Here Betsy with the flamingos outside one of the night clubs in the hotel.

Here is Betsy with the flamingos in the courtyard.



The Silverton was just down Blue Diamond Road from the condo. Here is Betsy at the aquarium after Christmas, 2010.

Here is Betsy at the waterfall inside the lobby.

The Silverton also has a huge Bass Pro shop as part of the complex. The waterfall is at the entrance to the Bass Pro shop.


No trip to Vegas would be complete without a trip to the Venetian. Here is Betsy at the waterfall and pool.

Below is a shot of some of the performers at the Venetian.

The hotel has their own version of a Venetian canal. Here is Bruce and Betsy in a Gondola. The gondolier was part of a team of Italians brought over to staff the hotel.

From the look on their faces, they appear to be pretty happy.

This only a small sample of the places they went and the things they saw on the "Strip".

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Out & About

There is a lot more that casinos and hotels in Vegas. Here is a small sample of photos of some of the outings away from the "Strip".

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam is considered one of the modern wonders of the world. The gantry is part of the equipment used to build the dam and is still used to service it. The dam was built in 1936 and the new bridge over the Colorado River was completed in 2010. The bridge allows US-93 to bypass the 2-lane section over the bridge. Below is a shot of Betsy and Bruce at the parking garage.

The shot below shows Bruce and Betsy at the parking garage looking towards the dam.

Here is a photo of the generators (dynamos) in the power-house on the Arizona side.

The shot below is looking out a ventilator in the face of the dam. The two power houses and new bridge and the tail wash can be seen.

Below is Bruce and Betsy on one of the viewing areas on the upstream side of the dam.

Ethel M's Chocolate Factory

Vegas is also the home to Ethel M's Chocolate Factory. One of the partners in the M&Ms company got tired with retirement in Las Vegas, so he decided to open a premium line of chocolates and located his factory in the south-east side of Vegas. Below is a shot of Bruce and Betsy in the sales area after taking the factory tour in January, 2011.

Outside on the grounds, they have a large garden of cactus. Below is a shot of Betsy in the  Cactus Garden.

Since the Mars family founded M&Ms, it is appropriate to see M&Ms around the factory. Below is a photo of Betsy with a few friends.

Fashion Show Mall

During her New Years holiday visit in 2010, Betsy and Bruce took in the Fashion Show Mall on the strip. Below is a photo of Betsy next to one of the mall decorations.

Gator Game Watching

While in Vegas, Bruce watched Gator football with the Vegas Gator Club. Below is James and Cindy McLane, Cindy Sutton, Betsy and Bruce.

Mt. Charleston

During her New Years holiday visit in 2010/11, Betsy and Bruce took a trip up to the ski area on Mt. Charleston just outside Las Vegas. Mt. Charleston is one of Vegas' best kept secrets. Not many folks associate skiing and snowboarding with Las Vegas. Below is a photo of Betsy after breakfast at the Mt. Charleston Lodge.

Bruce and Betsy below on the deck outside the dining room.

The ski area is a few miles west of the lodge. Below is a shot of Bruce at the entrance to the ski area of the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort.

Below is one final shot of Bruce and Betsy near the lifts at the bottom of the slopes.


At over 110 stories high, the Stratosphere is the tallest building in Las Vegas. The restaurant is called at the Top of the World. This is a 5-star rotating restaurant and is one of Betsy and Bruce's favorite places for lunch. Dinner is pricey. Here they are at lunch in February 2011.

After lunch, they headed up to the observation level for a view of Vegas. The shot below shows them on the south side of the observation level with the Las Vegas strip below.

The Stratosphere has some really scary rides up top, and has a tethered leap off the side.

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Here are some of the events Bruce was involved in while in Vegas.

New Year's

One of Betsy's long-time friend, Dave Shuit, retired to Las Vegas. At New Years 2010/2011, Bruce and Betsy visited with Dave and family.

After socializing, everyone headed to the roof of the parking garage at Sam's Town to watch the fireworks on the Strip. Six of the casinos and the Stratosphere shoot fireworks from their roofs. It was cold in Vegas that year, with temperatures below freezing at midnight.

For New Year's 2011/2012, Bruce spent the evening with Ivars and Rita, and a couple of friends from San Diego.

LSU Crawfish Boil

On April 30th, Bruce attended the LSU Crawfish Boil in Las Vegas. This event is a scholarship fundraiser for the Las Vegas LSU Alumni Association. Below is a photo of Bruce picking up his tray of "mud bugs".

It didn't take long to finish off that treat. Are seconds available?

The Alumni Association brought in a really good zydeco band. It didn't take long for folks to start dancing.

With the band playing, folks kept on suckin' down mud bugs.

Since it wasn't football season, even arch-rivals could be friends.

The event was held at Tommy Rocker's in Vegas. Below is a photo of Bruce with the Rocker inside the club.

The price of admission include open bar. Below is a photo of Bruce queuing up for a refill.

Another instance of arch-rivals becoming friends for a day. Bruce with one of those Georgia peaches.

Derby Day

On May 7, 2011, Bruce attended the Derby Day party sponsored by the University of Kentucky Alumni Association. This was also fundraising event for scholarships, and was held at the Blue Martini in Las Vegas. Below is a couple of "cuties" in the classic derby hats.

Below is Bruce with a couple of reps for Woodford Reserve Bourbon, a small batch craft bourbon and the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby. They were giving out Derby ball caps and free samples of Woodford Reserve.

Below is a few of the ladies in their "Derby Hats".

One of the best hats at the event.

Although Bruce didn't win on the horses, he did win the gift basket at the event.

The basket included a bottle of Woodford Reserve, shot glasses, another Derby hat and a few other items.

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In June, 2011, two of our grandkids came out with Betsy for a "Vegas Vacation". In addition to doing the "Strip" and Fremont Street, they managed to take in Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater and Hoover Dam.

Freemont St.

One Saturday evening, the granddaughters got a chance to Fremont St. This is a street turned into a pedestrian mall open to the public with no charge. It is also a place minors can go. You can see a couple of very happy teen-age girls in the photo below. They had a great time.

The street is covered by a huge LED display. Under the display are zip lines. The girls did the zip lines and you can see Alissa in the photo below.

Fremont St. is full of celebrity impersonators. Below is a photo of Betsy, Alissa nd Ariana with some of the street performers.

There were also show girls.

One of the more interesting things we encountered that night was a "Super Hero" pub crawl. Below is a photo of the leader at the head of the group.

Below is a photo of part of the group. It was comical to see super heroes staggering along.

Zion National Park

A group photo at the start of the tour.

Betsy, Ariana, Alissa and Bruce ready to board the shuttle.

A natural arch geological formation. Zion is geological heaven.

Below is another interesting geological formation.

A formation with red over white rock.

Another natural arch.

Ariana, Betsy and Alissa at an overlook to another interesting formation.

And yet another formation.

Bryce Canyon

After touring Zion NP, the gang headed over to Bryce Canyon. This was the favorite of all the parks they did on their trip. Below is Betsy, Alissa and Ariana at Rainbow Point. At 9,115' high, jackets were needed even though it was June.

Below is a photo of Betsy and the granddaughters at an overlook for a stand of hoodoos.

Betsy and the granddaughters at an overlook for another stand of hoodoos.

A different kind of Hole in the Wall.

One of the larger hoodoos in the park.

Yet another of the many geological formations in the park.

The Grand Canyon

Below is Betsy and the granddaughters at the entrance to the lodge on the North Rim.

Below is Betsy and the granddaughters at the porch of the lodge on the North Rim.

Below is Betsy and the granddaughters at one of the overlooks on the North Rim.

Meteor Crater

After the Grand Canyon, it was on to Meteor Crater just east of Flagstaff. Below is Ariana, Betsy and Alissa on the observation area at the rim of the crater.

Below is Bruce on the rim.

Betsy, Alissa, Ariana and Bruce with a meteor fragment found at the site. The fragment weighs 1,405 pounds.

Of all the places we visited, the girls seemed to be the most excited about Meteor Crater. Seeing an impact site and actually touching a "meteor from outer space" was quite a treat for them.

Hover Dam

In addition to Zion, Bryce, the Grand Canyon and Meteor Crater, they also visited Hoover Dam just outside Las Vegas.

Below is a photo of Ariana and Alissa on the Arizona side of the Dam.

Further up the Arizona side you get a good view of the upstream side of the dam. The rainfall in the mountains has been lower than normal the last few years, so the pool was down by about 40'.

Below is a photo of the granddaughters at the Nevada - Arizona state line. Ariana (left) is in Nevada and Alissa (right) is in Arizona.

Below is one final photo of Alissa, Bruce and Ariana at an overlook with the new bridge in the background.

The trip to Vegas was one of the greatest vacations they ever had and they said they were definitely coming back when they were 21 years old.

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Michael & Courtney

Bruce's son Michael and girlfriend Courtney, came out for a visit in the fall of 2011. Here are a few photos from that visit.

Hotels & Casinos

First on the agenda was a tour of the strip. Below is Bruce and Michael at the welcome sign.

From the sign, it was up the strip. Below is photo of Michael and Courtney at the Bellagio.

Below is Courtney at one to the displays at Cesar's Palace.

Below is Michael and Courtney at the big chandelier at the Cosmopolitan.

One of the "must do" things on Michael's list was a visit to the pawn shop featured on TV. Below is Michael and Courtney in the main hall of the shop.

No trip to Vegas is complete with a trip up to the restaurant in the Stratosphere. Below is Courtney and Michael having lunch.

Bruce, Michael and Courtney at Buffalo Wild Wings for a Univ. of Florida game watching party.

Courtney and Michael, below, on Fremont St. with a couple bottles.

Michael and Courtney were impressed by the overhead light show on Fremont St. Notice the bride and groom at the bottom of the picture.

Hoover Dam

No trip to Vegas is complete without a trip out to Hoover Dam. Below is Courtney and Michael at the Nevada-Arizona state line in the middle of the dam. Michael and Courtney took the "Dam Tour" which goes deep down into the dam.

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George Strait for Betsy's Birthday in 2017

Betsy had been wanting to see George Strait perform live for some time. He missed out on the farewell concert in Dallas, probably for the better since there were over 100,000 people crammed into AT&T Stadium for that event, so he go tickets for one of the occasional shows in Vegas.

Their hotel was the Bellagio, and they visited some of their old familiar places and a few friends while there.

Below is Betsy in their king room. Nicely decorated to say the least. Big too!

Betsy pretending to pet one of the Coca Cola polar bears in the display while waiting for a table in the Cafe Bellagio.

Breakfast in the cafe. Breakfast and lunch there is always a treat, although rather pricey.

What's a Christmas tree without a train. The Bellagio had a Garden-scale train circling the tree. The train has s wireless camera on it that was linked to several screens around the display where people could see themselves from the train's perspective.

The tree was 28' (8.5 m) tall.

Across from the tree was a gift box full of toys.

The theme that year was the Coca Cola polar bears. Below is Betsy with another group of bears.

If you entered the conservatory from the lobby, you passed through an arch and past a couple of toy solders.

The fountain in the lobby was full of poinsettias.

This year they had a Japanese warrior on horseback in the lobby.

There were beautiful displays through the hotel. Below is an example of one down a hallway off the lobby.

Bruce and Betsy checked in on Thursday. When Saturday came around, it was time to head over to T-Mobile Arena and the George Strait concert. Below is a photo of the stage before the concert began.

Cam opened for George.

Then it was time for the main event by the King of Country music himself.

Betsy had a great time. So much so that she told Bruce later that night that she would not be able to be mad at him for at least 6 months.

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Version 0.4, December 29, 2017